Being a persuasive speaker

Aristotle broke down persuasion into 3 essential components of: Logos, Pathos and Ethos. Let’s look at how to incorporate these components within your next speech.

 Logos: The logic of what you are saying

Frame your speech with a thought-provoking opening and closing. Build your argument with logical transitions from one idea to the next. Illustrate each idea with a video, picture, an activity or physical demonstration. Provide logical facts, figures and statistics to back up your statement or opinion.

Prepare in advance. “Winging” speeches disrespects your audience and it is an insult to the opportunity and privilege to speak. Be organised in how you deliver your talk. Research thoroughly. Value your time and the time of your audience. Rehearse your speech so that it is within 1-2 minutes of the allocated time. Think to yourself: “If this is my only chance to influence and persuade this audience, what will I do differently?”

Recycle your content into multiple channels and formats to reach different audiences. This could include audio, books, articles, info-pictures and videos.

Ethos: Your Ethics and believability

Be humble and contain your ego. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Create an environment where people are not intimated by your experience, qualifications or background. The more comfortable they are with you – the more easier it is to influence them.

Have integrity. There must be congruence between what you know, what you claim to know, and the actions that you personally take.

Provide evidence of what you have done. When the outer world confirms what is in the inside of your head – the words that you use with your audience becomes a powerful persuasive tool.

Pathos: The Emotional content of your argument

Your audience first needs to trust you before they can listen to your content and your ideas. Dedicate at least 1-2 minutes to talk about how you have overcome challenges with respect to your topic. This creates an emotional connection to your audience.

People are looking for inspiration – by your actions and your life mission – you can set an example and be that role model for others.

When you speak, your energy and passion for your content has to be so much higher than that of your audience. Energy is transferable. An audience is able to draw upon your own energy and become enthusiastic for their work or cause.

Learn to control your emotions. Stay calm during the question and answer session.  Remain composed if an audience member interrupts your talk. People look up to you when you radiate confidence and professionalism.

Inspirational Advice

  1. Knowledge is power. Know your subject.
  2. Listen to their side before you persuade with your viewpoint.
  3. Engage with your smile, eye contact and clarity of speech.
  4. Build from commonality.
  5. Believe in your message.

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